Fans of the Florida Panthers have an answer to the biggest of many questions facing the team this summer: Who will coach the team next fall? The answer, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie is Kevin Dineen. Dineen has spent the past seasons as head coach of the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League. Prior to getting into coaching, he played for five different NHL teams in a career that lasted from 1984 to 2003. His best season as a pro was an 89 point campaign (45 goals) in 1988-1989 as a member of the Hartford Whalers.
Dineen took over as coach of the Pirates for the 2005-2006 season. He won the Pieri Award (coach of the year, as voted on by media) that season after leading Portland to a first place division and a spot in the AHL conference finals (where they lost to the eventual Calder Cup champs, the Hershey Bears). During his run behind the bench, the Pirates failed to qualify for the playoffs only once while capturing two division championships (2006, 2011).
While he isn’t a ‘name’ coach, his name has been tossed around the past few offseasons as a guy ready to take over behind an NHL bench. He’s a ‘lifer’ and comes from a great hockey family (father Bill was a player and coach, brothers Gord and Peter were also NHLers) and carries with him a reputation of being a great teacher, something that is going to be greatly needed on a team as young as the Cats. When the Pirates were the affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, he coached the likes of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Dustin Penner before their NHL careers began.
Per George Richards of the Miami Herald will be formally announced as the 11th head coach of the Panthers at a 3pm news conference at the Bank Atlantic Center.
For some more insight into the new head man, check out this piece by Steve Solloway of the Portland Press Herald from earlier this month.
What say you Panther fans? Did Dale Tallon get it right? Yay or nay on Kevin Dineen?
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